Monday, December 4, 1944

The Charlotte News

Monday, December 4, 1944


Site Ed. Note: The front page reports that Third Army tanks and infantry cleared Saarlautern west of the Saar River and moved across a captured bridge under intense enemy fire to the east side of the river. Some of the enemy found in the eastern sector of the city were part of the Volkssturm, People's Army. The Saar River acted as a moat for the German pillboxes and other defensive emplacements comprising the Siegfried Line just on the other side. The Army now held an unbroken line for sixteen miles along the river northwest to Merzig, with the Germans having blown four bridges across the Saar along this line.

The Ninth Army continued to battle in the western outskirts of Julich on the Roer River, but apparently had not yet crossed the river into the principal part of the town.

The First Army pushed into the northern foothills of the Eifel Mountains, southeast of the captured village of Brandenberg. On Sunday, 120 Luftwaffe fighters had strafed the American lines and First Army anti-aircraft guns had shot down between 36 and 52 of the planes.

The Seventh Army captured Ribeauville, eight miles north of Colmar, on the Alsatian plain below Strasbourg. St. Hippolyte was also captured, and the Germans reported the taking of Selestat, scene of heavy fighting, 25 miles southwest of Strasbourg.

In Holland, the Germans opened the dikes on the Lower Rhine and flooded the Canadian sector south of Arnhem.

The British Second Army advanced a mile into the western suburbs of Venlo and completed the mopping up of the bridgehead west of the Meuse River, as the Army reached the entrance to the destroyed bridge over the Meuse.

All along the Western Front, the weather steadily worsened, with rain and ice in the north and rain and heavy cloud cover in the south, hampering both ground fighting and air cover.

A bombing raid consisting of 1,200 American heavy bombers and a thousand fighter escorts hit Kassel, Mainz, Glessen, Soest, and Bedra in Western Germany, meeting no Luftwaffe opposition.

The RAF Second Tactical Air Force struck along the Western Front from Belgium and France with a force of a thousand fighter bombers on Sunday, encountering initially a hundred Luftwaffe fighters which withdrew in the face of RAF escort fire.

A map on the inside page provides the British estimate of arrayed German forces in Europe: 70 divisions on the Western Front, 20 in Scandinavia, 140 on the Eastern Front, 20 in the Balkans, 30 in Italy, plus twenty inside Germany.

A list also is provided of the Allied commanders, British and American, in Europe, the Mediterranean, and the Pacific.

A story appears re 1st Lieutenant William W. Strozier of Stovall, Ga., who went AWOL from a cushy position in Naples at a desk, after fighting valiantly with his compatriots of the First Armored Division in Tunisia in early 1943, having originally been assigned to the 41st Infantry Regiment of the Second Armored Division. He had also fought on the front lines in Southern Italy, having been refused re-transfer to the Second to fight with them in Sicily. Pursuant to his persistent efforts, he had been reclassified for combat duty, despite a partial loss of hearing from prior combat. His formal request to rejoin the Second Armored was still pending upon his second attempt from the desk job in Naples, when he went over the hill, hitch-hiked to Marseilles, made his way across France, Belgium, and Holland, to rejoin his old outfit in Germany. During a night battle in the vicinity of Puffendorf, he was leading his men in a house-to-house patrol when he took a sniper's bullet from a nest inside a darkened house. Lieutenant Strozier was dead.

A fourth B-29 raid on Tokyo in the previous ten days, this one on Sunday, had left the Japanese capital in ruin and flame, being the most destructive yet of the raids. This raid had lasted 90 minutes and was apparently larger than the first three raids. The planes also faced more ground fire and fighter opposition than in the prior three raids. Prime targets were the Musashima engine works and Nakajima aircraft factory, the latter also the target of the first raid on November 24.

One B-29 was reported lost. Per the usual exaggeration, for home consumption, Tokyo radio reported 14 American planes knocked down and another seven probably shot down.

Admiral Nimitz announced that Army heavy bombers struck for the fifth time in four days at Iwo Jima in the Volcano Islands. Raids by the Japanese on the B-29 base on Saipan were being conducted from Iwo.

The Third Ukrainian Army moved further toward Austria, to within 72 miles of the border, advancing eleven miles to capture Tamasi, 21 miles below Lake Balaton, as well as taking Kaposmero. These forces drove 5.5 miles north along the west bank of the Danube to capture Dunafolvar, 43 miles south of Budapest, in the approach to the capital city from the rear.

The Germans stated that the Russians had reached Lake Balaton, 60 miles southwest of Budapest and but 45 miles from Austria.

Along the Slovak border, the Second Ukrainian Army captured Miskolc, 85 miles from Budapest, and Satoraljaujhely, the latter taken in combination with elements of the Fourth Ukrainian Army. The forces also captured Homrogd.

In Athens, violence broke out between the leftist EAM and police, prompting General Catsotas, acting military governor of the city, to issue 72-hour notice to the demonstrators to leave the Athens area of the Attica Province. The EAM had declared a general strike in the city, recently liberated from the Nazis.

In the port of Athens, armed elements of the EAM seized two police barracks. General Catsotas ordered their surender and warned that, otherwise, they would face armed consequences. The dock workers in the area were on strike, carrying weapons. The armed parts of EAM, known as ELAS, were firing from Philopppos Hill down into the Thesseum quarter of the city with rifles and machineguns.

British troops disarmed 800 of the protesters without firing a shot in the Thebes district and another 1,200 to the north of the city.

Martial law was declared and courts martial were empowered.

In China, T. V. Soong, brother-in-law of Chiang, was appointed acting Premier of the Chungking Government. A moderate, Soong's appointment added to speculation that the Chiang Government was about to effect a working agreement with the Chinese Communist rebels in the north, especially adept at fighting the Japanese.

The Senate Judiciary Committee approved without change the House-approved extension of the President's war powers for another year, meaning that the bill would now proceed to the Senate floor for vote.

Highlighted on the page is a reproduction of a letter from President Roosevelt to News editor J. E. Dowd, thanking him for the newspaper's support in the recent election. The News was a part of only 17 percent of the nation's newspapers which endorsed the President in the election. Historically, from 1932 onward, only such a small minority of the nation's newspapers had endorsed Roosevelt. In 1940, both J. E. Dowd and W. J. Cash wrote side-by-side editorials in the days preceding the election, with Dowd endorsing Wendell Willkie and Cash endorsing Roosevelt.

The Federal Trade Commission was now investigating the cigarette shortage in the country at the behest of the Senate Interstate Commerce Committee, chaired by Burton Wheeler of Montana. The Senate War Investigating Committee was also undertaking an inquiry into the emergent and mysterious matter. The FTC indicated that it intended to determine whether any laws had been violated in producing the shortage, with an eye toward possible Sherman and Clayton Anti-Trust Act violations.

Pin-up girl Joan Rydell, 27, was found comatose in her West End New York apartment, in an overflowing bathtub.

Police investigators found her face bruised, her head lacerated, overturned furniture, sleeping pills scattered in the bathroom lavatory, the broken bottle which had contained the prescription pills on the floor, and several whisky glasses on a kitchen table and empty whisky bottles in the kitchen. A bathroom scale was also broken and the radio was playing. The station and tune were not indicated.

The landlady used her pass key to discover Ms. Rydell after she noticed dripping water in the basement.

Ms. Rydell was taken to a hospital to be revived. Police were anxious to ask her wha' happened.

She eventually got better and appeared in such well-known publications as Titter, Flirt, Wink, Beauty Parade, and Whisper.

Anyway, keep it all hush-hush and on the Q.T.

On the editorial page, "A New Day" comments on Secretary of State-designate Edward Stettinius and his background as head of U. S. Steel. In that capacity, he had formulated an agreement with the Steel Workers Union of the CIO after the company had fought the union for years. His appointment promised a new, more liberal face within the State Department.

Averill Harriman, Ambassador to the Soviet Union, also had a liberal business background, with the Union Pacific and Illinois Central railroads. He had succeeded another liberal capitalist and corporate lawyer, Joseph E. Davies.

Secretary of the Navy James Forrestal, succeeding the deceased Frank Knox in May, had been a leading investment banker.

Nelson Rockefeller, Coordinator of Inter-American Affairs and about to become Assistant Secretary of State, was grandson to John D. Rockefeller.

And Eric Johnston, Chamber of Commerce president, had recently visited Russia and recommended Communism as a means of life for the Russians.

Wendell Willkie, now deceased, had been president of a utility holding company financed by J. P. Morgan.

Concludes the piece, the appointment of Mr. Stettinius recognized that economic relations were more important in the coming post-war world than political relations.

"Is That All?" finds it a little disturbing that the court martial proceedings against Admiral Husband Kimmel and General Walter Short, for their commanding roles respectively of the Navy and Army at Pearl Harbor on December 7, 1941, had been canceled. The editorial opines that they should never have been made scapegoats in the first place, but that the public had a right to know what took place, and the failure of either public court martial proceedings or at least a full public airing of the investigations by the Army and Navy into the attack would leave the public at large frustrated with non-disclosure.

The Army and Navy promised disclosure at war's end—as it would be—but the piece sees no reason to wait, three years having passed since that fateful and horrific day on Oahu.

"Beer and Drunks" discusses the Charlotte Police Chief's ascription of high incidence of arrests for public drunkenness to illegal selling of beer on Sunday in violation of a ban on such sales. The News had questioned the validity of the correlation and asked the Chief to compile some statistics of arrests on a daily basis. He obliged, providing daily arrests for the last week of November during each of the prior eight years. The resultant statistical breakdown showed no significant increase in arrests on Sundays, tended only to show higher numbers on Saturday nights.

Anecdotally, it appeared that public drunkenness was coming not from beer alone but rather mixing of beer with wine or other alcohol or aspirin.

Sgt. Ralph Boyce, writing in Yank, the Army weekly, tells of an incident on Leyte in which he and his men were basking in the shade of a Japanese airplane wing after taking the airfield, when suddenly they were shaken by a furious explosion. A tank had hit a mine. The sergeant then vividly recounts the scene of injury to the men of the tank.

One of the soldiers asked one of the injured men for his dogtags. He reached into his pocket and instead pulled out a letter which he then began trying to read. The letter, however, was upside down.

Drew Pearson discusses some of the initial problems incurred in the Tokyo bombing raids from Saipan by the B-29 crews. Fatigue from the arduous 3,000-mile flights, maintenance issues, inaccurate weather reports, changing weather during the missions, some defects in the aircraft, and lag in production of the planes to replace those lost in action were among them. Officials indicated that it would yet be several months before the raids would reach their peak.

It was also hoped that General MacArthur would obtain bases in the Philippines from which B-29 raids could originate. Leyte thus far was unusable for the purpose because of the large size of the Super-fortress, making camouflage impracticable and subjecting the planes to Japanese bombing.

He next tells of why Count Carlo Sforza was being kept from the Italian Cabinet by the British. When Count Sforza had been in exile in Washington until the fall of the Mussolini Government in latter July, 1943, he had made friends within the Cabinet in Washington, and when he requested from Secretary of State Hull to return to Italy, Mr. Hull gave his assent but suggested he also talk to Lord Halifax, British Ambassador to the United States.

When Count Sforza spoke to Lord Halifax, the latter urged him to get along with the House of Savoy and appeared troubled by the Count's desire for a republic. Count Sforza responded that he had no problem with King Vittorio Emanuele provided the people wanted him pursuant to a plebiscite. He was certain, however, that they did not, found both the King and his son, Prince Umberto, to be toadies to Mussolini and inherently stupid.

Lord Halifax had insisted that the Italian people should learn to accept the House of Savoy as the British had the House of Windsor. To this remark, Count Sforza replied that the British cooperation with the House of Windsor had only come after the beheading of one of its kings.

Samuel Grafton discusses the Belgian riots against the Government of Hubert Pierlot, which had taken the place of the occupying Nazis. The Government had banned public meetings in the country, echoing that which the Gestapo had done while they had ruled the country. M. Pierlot had refused to take action against collaborationist munitions manufacturers which had supplied weapons to the Reich, and so it was not surprising that he now suppressed the rights of the people.

He was receiving the support of the British as British tanks protected Government buildings in Brussels. Mr. Grafton predicts that this support would backfire at home in Britain, provoking disunity. The next step in Belgium would be to squelch labor unions, which would embarrass the Labor Party in Britain and potentially fracture the coalition Government of Churchill.

Marquis Childs discusses the Canadian conscription policy, drafting only for home defense, while only volunteers were sent into combat overseas. Of the total 750,000 Canadians in uniform, only 60,000 refused to volunteer for overseas duty, so-called "Zombies". Of 450,000 Army draftees, 300,000 had volunteered for overseas duty.

Prime Minister Mackenzie King had proposed a compromise whereby 16,000 of the Zombies would be sent to the front to replace divisions seriously depleted by casualties. The proposal, however, was unsatisfactory to the French-Canadians of Quebec who traditionally disfavored the draft, while the British Canadians were equally opposed for the relatively low number of Zombies to be sent to the front.

Stories had it that the postmaster in Quebec, when he received the notice of a man's conscription, would inform the young man to take to the woods, where he would remain for a month. The postmaster would then return the notice to the War Ministry indicating inability to locate the conscriptee.

Mr. Childs finds the determination of the French-Canadians to be emblematic of the continued viability in both Canada and the United States of isolationism, notwithstanding five years of war.

A letter writer urges that all government employees be required to stop smoking and that the public generally be urged to do so, to allow provision of as many cigarettes to the soldiers as they wanted.

It was a worthy sentiment to urge quitting the habit, but we are not so sure that giving the soldiers all the cigarettes they wanted was such an impelling device by which the war would surely be won. The soldiers, sailors, and airmen had quite enough problems without adding to them the prospect of cancer once they returned home with the habit.

An Italian-surnamed letter writer responds to the letter written the previous week by the gentleman who did not wish any longer to read Drew Pearson anent the "wop LaGuardia sitting on his fanny" or of "Churchill dictating to his secretary stark naked in the White House", or of DNC chair Robert Hannegan's personal thanks expressed to the News for its endorsement of FDR.

Mr. Frigatti finds the previous letter writer's choice of "wop" to be particularly offensive and expressive of ignorance of the country's history, reminding that Christopher Columbus was Italian. So, he says, with a good deal of probity, that Mayor LaGuardia of New York was closer in ancestry to Columbus than the previous letter writer, surnamed Douglas. He urges the News to continue to stick with Columbus, Da Gama, Magellan, and Verozonni(?), (presumably, Verrazzano).

But, when you grow up in the Sea of Verrazzano, you might call it the Sea of Verozonni. Or, you could call it the Arizoni Sea, or just the Cannelloni.

You know what we're sayin' here?

Anyway, Sail on, O Ship of State, Naked or Not--and all that there. You know.

Incidentally, yesterday, we saw this account of a young lad, nine years old, in Gastonia, North Carolina, who was just suspended from school for two days for saying, sub voce, to his friend in class, that he thought his teacher was "cute". The substitute teacher overheard the remark, reported it as "sexual harassment" and the child was suspended by the school. The school agrees that no other conduct or statement occurred. The school code allows suspension only upon disruptive behavior of a student.

Today, we just read that the school board, upon review of the matter, has apologized, agrees that there was no sexual harassment or inappropriate behavior.

It is a good thing. Otherwise, we sincerely had hoped that this child's mother, who was appropriately outraged by the initial action, would consult an attorney in North Carolina, one who is knowledgeable of Constitutional law and the First Amendment and who has handled lawsuits for violations of civil rights pursuant to 42 USC 1983, and actively considered suing this school district for the reprehensible and outrageously repugnant action of suspending her son for this single innocent remark, denying and chilling plainly this student's exercise of a First Amendment right to make a comment in private to his friend re his teacher.

For purely pedagogical reasons, as the matter now appears amicably and genuinely resolved by the sensible school board, we shall nevertheless belabor it some, because it does reveal a strange strain of problematic views stretching throughout the land regarding such matters as "sexual harassment", and "harassment" in general, when rubbing up against the First Amendment.

It would not matter if the young lad had stated something under his breath much more salacious than "cute". When we were in the fourth grade, albeit centuries ago, we heard all kinds of comments about our very cute fourth grade teacher, now deceased. And sometimes, we heard remarks about various teachers which went far beyond "cute", comments which, no doubt, would have been read only in magazines such as Titter, comments on cute boots and things of that nature. There was even a rumor, false though it was, that one of the teachers at our middle school had posed in the 1950's for Playboy. And the rumor abounded persistently, not just having been casually disseminated.

We had yesterday to wonder, therefore: Have you idiots gone completely insane? Do you really believe that the United States of America accepts this sort of Ringo Report garbage, little Miss Primrose and Simon-Pure? You are despicable and ought be fired from your jobs for daring to label a little boy's innocent comment as "sexual harassment", doing God only knows what sort of potential damage, if not to the young lad, himself, to other little boys across the country. You are idiots beyond words. This is not funny. This is serious. You would hold up to the country a standard whereby it is impermissible to say, in quiet fashion, "I think she is cute," labeling that "sexual harassment". You would dare to suggest that statement, stipulated not to have been said in any manner which disrupted the order of the class, as impermissible speech under the First Amendment.

Have you ever read the First Amendment? Do you not realize that, as a public school, you are part of the State and that the State, as with Congress, pursuant to the Fourteenth Amendment, cannot make a law, or treat with an established law, in such a way as to abridge that most precious freedom, not granted by the First Amendment, but protected against abuse by the State by the First Amendment. The law is inherent to our human rights at birth, as our Founders established it. You either live by that precept or you leave the country. You leave. You move somewhere else. Go away. We mean it. We are not kidding. You are sick. You are evil. You are Fascists. You should be shunned by the community until you are out. You and the Ringo K. Galaxies, the "conservative" pols who gave us the Ringos, and other such reprehensible, sick perverts proliferating in our society, seeking, on the self-promoting premise of pious reverence to some false god, through little "jokes" as this, to take us backward, resolving itself usually in racism, though we do not know the race of the substitute teacher or teacher in question.

But, as we stress, that was yesterday. What a difference a day makes.

If the school board had not today apologized and rescinded the order of suspension, then certainly a lawsuit should have been filed, and if dismissed in the lower Federal courts, pursued, if necessary, all the way to the Supreme Court. The case would have been a far more straightforward and salutary one than "Bong Hits 4 Jesus" out of Juneau, a few years ago. For this remark clearly could not be taken to refer to drug use, even by Neanderthals like Ringo K. Nor is it, obviously, to anyone but a complete moron and a racist on top of it, sexual harassment.

But, we do realize that, when idiotic teachers and school representatives seek to obtain their "knowledge" from yellow journalism practiced regularly on the television networks and passed off as the standards by which we all ought to live, without bothering to think and to check for themselves the laws of the land, and their commonsense, and common experience with which they grew up, before acting on those absurd premises, then it is no wonder. When candidates for national office are run from the field by charges and allegations which are years old and which have never even been adjudicated, it is no wonder. We did not agree with Mr. Cain's politics. But we sure as hell defend his right to make his case politically, and not to be run from the field by yellow journalism, as he has been.

That said, no one in their right mind tried to suggest that Mr. Cain committed sexual harassment by whispering to one of his co-workers that he thought an employee was "cute". That is not sexual harassment. It is freedom of thought and speech. And simply because it occurs in a classroom is no ground to try to make it something it is not--to the contrary. It hearkens back in our mind to the wolf whistle of Emmett Till in 1955, which wound up getting the 14-year old Emmett Till killed by white racist idiots in Money, Mississippi, August 28, 1955, racist idiots who subsequently were acquitted by other racist idiots for their heinous conduct.

But that incident, of course, also led to the modern Civil Rights Movement, stimulating Rosa Parks to refuse to give up her seat at the front of the bus and move to the rear in Montgomery, Alabama, December 1, 1955, culminating in the March on Washington from Montgomery and the speech before the Lincoln Memorial by Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., August 28, 1963.

We are glad and appreciate the fact that the Gaston County School Board has taken a modern view of the matter and not a post-post modern view, and utilized its good commonsense and wellspring of Constitutionally imparted wisdom, to remedy the situation and save Gaston County a major lawsuit in the bargain.

Next time, let boys be boys, you Fanny, and girls be as cute as they wish to be to impress them.

The substitute teacher and the principal of the school, in our estimate, and the teacher, if she was in on it, ought be forced to go to every school in the district and write out, 1,000 times, on the blackboard, in front of the entire student body of each school, the First Amendment, and then read a 10,000-word report, which they draft, checked by the School Board for originality and syntax, on "What the First Amendment Means to Me". And we are dead serious. If not, fire them as bums unable even to understand the First Amendment to the Constitution. What business have they in American education? Let them teach their Fascism in Argentina where it will be vastly appreciated.

Parenthetically, however, we stress that if a girl wishes to look like Madame Chu or Madame Mao rather than Madame Chiang, for instance, that is her right, too. To each his own. And boys can, if they will, look, say, as George Harrison, or even Elton John or Herman Cain or Newt Gingrich. So what? You see what we're sayin' here?

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